April 2018 Housing wealth makes up almost 2/3 of Retired American’s New Worth and needs to be taken in consideration when people contemplate retiring and taking Social Security.  As Baby Boomers retire many will decide to move to a different home for a variety of reasons.  Some will want to downsize or upgrade to a newer home, some will want to move closer to family, others will wish to move to retirement communities, surprisingly retiring to an urban location or to be near a university Continue reading →

CASE STUDY Balancing Act

CASE STUDY Balancing Act Linda is 62 a widow and is still working, not by choice, but because she has no options and needs to continue working until 65 when she qualifies for Medicare.  Linda works 6 days per week and earns $22,000 per year as a clerk in a department store.  She can’t get by in what she earns, thus her daughter helps her out financially each month.  Linda also has several nonthreatening health issues which makes her working and planning that much more Continue reading →

No Cookie Cutter Advice

With the November 2015 changes to spousal claiming options some CPA’s, Financial Advisors and consumers question the need to spend $250 to have me run a personalized Social Security Analysis where I’ll explore ALL their claiming options.  My answer is twofold, you and your employer have paid several hundred thousand dollars in FICA taxes over the last 30 – 40 years and the difference between proper and improper claiming over the next 30 – 40 years can easily exceed $500,000 of lifetime benefits!  Does it Continue reading →


Bob 68 and Sally 66 are Social Security clients of mine (not real names) and 2 years ago I had Sally claim her own benefits $720/mo. While Bob claimed spousal benefits (Restricted Claiming Provision) of $450/mo.  When Bob reaches 70 in 2020 his projected benefits will be $3400/mo. at that time Sally will switch to spousal benefits of $1,050/mo.  The key is getting them to wait another 2 years! Bob is still working and commuting over 2 ½ hours per day and is working 5 Continue reading →

The Missing Piece

Last month we discussed the Retirement Income Puzzle (Social Security, Investments, Work & Home Equity).  The Missing Piece in most retirement planning scenarios is the use of Home Equity, it is a viable and extremely important component of a successful plan!  For whatever reason integrating one’s home equity into the overall plan has been totally ignored by many financial planners and advisors, which I might say could be a breach of one’s fiduciary responsibility. Why should it be included into overall plan? Housing wealth makes Continue reading →

The Retirement Income Puzzle 2018

January 2018 I had an old boss that once told me “every presentation you make, you should be able to do on a bar napkin and if you can’t, you should stay in the bar until you can!”  This advice is more important today than ever in that there is so much information available from so many different sources and sites and one does not know what is valuable, insightful, misleading, too confusing or just plain wrong!   I just googled the word; RETIREMENT there are Continue reading →


As we come to the final month of the year, I thought I might reflect on 2017 and some of the interesting highlights – lowlights – and observations that I’ve encountered. In every presentation I’ve made this year, I always start with one simple statement “If you tell me your checkout date, I’ll tell you when to claim Social Security benefits!” That is the $64,000 Question all advisors face when assisting clients in determining when to claim Social Security benefits and how much they can Continue reading →

Women and Social Security

I came across and article the other day title “Why Women need to save more for retirement” and I thought it would be timely to discuss and shed additional light on the subject of Social Security. The 5 Reasons were; Women live longer than men by an average of 4 years That means an additional of 4 years income will be required. If married and husband dies his pension benefits might be reduced or eliminated upon his death. With Social Security when one spouse dies Continue reading →

Hurricane Harvey Edition

September 2017 I write this month’s article in the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma with Maria heading towards the Caribbean.  One might rightfully ask; What do these occurrences have to do with Social Security?  The answer is quite apparent when one thinks about the money that will be required to repair this devastation. When I recently spoke at the Houston, Dallas and Austin CPA Societies Spring Events, my topic was Social Security 2017 & Beyond – Integrating Reverse Mortgages into the Social Security Conversation.  Continue reading →


This week I did a Social Security training session for new hires at Lincoln National Life in Fort Wayne, IN. I started the session with one basic elementary question, “Why should you take the time and the effort to learn the basics of Social Security claiming strategies and then proactively discuss these issues with clients and prospects with full knowledge that they wouldn’t be paid for their time or advice?” Their answers; It’s IMPORTANT It’s a VALUE-ADDED service I CARE about them and don’t want Continue reading →